I have now completed the biggest two passes of the whole editing process. These both involve reading the entire book from beginning to end. The first was done onscreen, the second on a printout with a coloured highlighter. Printing a substantial block of text out helps to focus the mind and makes the process of ferretting out those examples of poor writing that should never have been there in the first place.
The upshot of this is that the work has lost a further three thousand words. Its length now stands at 130,200 words. Exactly that figure, as it happens. It won’t stay like that, of course, because much work remains to be done. Not all of it was cutting, by any means. Plenty of passages needed fleshing out and there were a few new ones added. Ideas occur all the time and need to be worked in.
The third pass will involve a different colour highlighter and look only at the pages with no alterations on them yet. Following that, I will use a third highlighter on whatever pages still remain unaltered. These passes are quite short because the vbast majority of the pages have been changed for the better already. Even then, the process won’t be finished. After that, we start working backwards, but I will come to that in a later post.